Six Things God Uses to Encourage Part 3

God uses six things to encourage us and, so far this month, we’ve looked at God’s Word, music, and Fellowship. This week, I’d like to talk about thankfulness.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” -Philippians 4:6

It sounds counterintuitive to say that in the midst of great suffering we should be thankful, but it does help. First of all, we are not thankful for suffering, but we may be thankful that our suffering brings understanding of other. We may be thankful that we can now understand enough to help others. We may be thankful that we will grow from this experience. But above all, we can be thankful that God never abandons us in our suffering. He is always near, giving us strength, giving us peace, giving us guidance and direction.

Secondly, it is true that the more we are thankful for what we have, the more we see the positives that struggles bring us. Further, as we get used to being thankful for the beauty around us, the opportunities that come our way, the fact that God is with us, the people in our lives that help us, the more joy we are able to have.

I’m not saying this is easy, but it is powerful! At first, you may only see one good thing in the mess that you perceive to be your life. Soon, you can see more. Keep looking for them. You see what you look for. Look for a red car and you will see them everywhere. Look for a blue car and you may never notice the red ones. Think of this as an exercise similar to I Spy that you played as a kid. See how many blue cars (blessings, joys, good things, beautiful things) you can see each day. After a while, you won’t notice the red cars (negative things) as much.

This is a powerful encouragement to cultivate in yourself and that is why I discuss it frequently here on the blog and why I have included it as a theme in the Life Beyond Surviving Facebook Group. I post a prompt each week called, Thankful Thursday as a chance for you to think more about the good things in your life. I hope you participate with me as I get just as much out of them as my members do!

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15

Next week, I’m going to talk about how humor is another way that may encourage us through difficult times. Join me!

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Six Things God Uses to Encourage

Late last year, I was listening to a recording of Charles Stanley talk about six things that God uses to encourage us and it got me thinking about how it relates specifically to chronic illness. I decided to make a series out of it and I’d like to share it this month.

I decided to adopt them as themes to post on my Life Beyond Surviving Facebook group. I added one to Mr. Stanely’s six in order to have one each day of the week to help inspire, uplift, and encourage my fellow chronic illness folks.

Not surprisingly, the first thing that God uses to encourage us is His Word. The Bible has hundreds of scriptures that speak encouraging words to us and they are especially uplifting and peaceful when we are in the midst of trials. Here are just a few. I pray they bring you peace.

Philippians 4:13
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Isaiah 41:10
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

Isaiah 40:31
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Exodus 15:2
The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Ephesians 6:10
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

Deuteronomy 20:4
“For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Joshua 1:9
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

2 Timothy 1:7
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Isaiah 12:2
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Isaiah 40:29
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Psalm 27:1
“Of David. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 31:24
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”

Psalm 73:26
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

2 Corinthians 12:9
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Mark 12:30
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10
“Then he said to them, ‘Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”

Psalm 46:1
“To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Habakkuk 3:19
“God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.”

Psalm 29:11
“May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!”

John 16:33
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

1 Peter 4:11
“Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Matthew 6:33
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Psalm 23:4
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

2 Timothy 4:17
“But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.”

Psalm 118:14
“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3
“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”

These are just a few of the many encouraging scriptures that the Lord speaks to us through His Word. Just reading through the Bible daily each year is encouraging especially to those who are in trial or struggling with chronic issues. Our circumstances may change, people may fail us, but God never does. He is the same yesterday, today and always.

I believe God gave us these encouraging words because He knew what we’d be facing in this fallen world and He gave us what we need to be strong until we are with Him in Heaven.

Next week, I’ll be sharing another of the six things that God uses to encourage us. I pray this has blessed you. I’ll see you back here next Monday! Please leave me a comment with your feedback and experiences and please share these posts with others who need encouragement.

Thank you!

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2020 Back to Basics – Plan

All this month I’ve been getting back to basics so we can accept our chronic illness limitations, but grow through them and begin to have more joy in our lives again. I talked about the stages of grief and finding a new path that God would have for us. This week, I want to share how exactly we do that.

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

They say that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It’s never been truer than for those of us with chronic illness. It’s hard enough to plan our day with fatigue and pain. It takes a bit more to plan your life, but it is necessary.

If it’s not on my To Do List, it don’t get to done! I find it so much easier to get things done, work my plan, do what I feel God is leading me to do if it’s on a list that I can check off when I’m done.

Once you know what you’re to do in each area of your life, you can begin to make those things happen by asking yourself questions. Do you need to change doctors to get better health this year? What steps can you begin to take to earn extra income? If it’s a new job, what steps can you take to get where you need to go? What things can you do to have better communication with your spouse?

Make a commitment to keep working your plan. Write it down where you can see it, look at it each day, work toward it each day. Having a goal and actually taking steps to move forward is what I found brought my joy back. It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s hardly ever easy. But it is worth it because it’s what God has for me and gives me purpose.

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

What is it for you? How can you take steps toward your purpose and joy?

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2020 Back to Basics – Live & grow

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

We’re getting back to basics this month. That old saying, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” never sat well with me. I’ve shared this before, but if our tunnel is chronic, it usually doesn’t end this side of heaven. That means we have to find the light inside our tunnel and last week we began that process by talking about the five stages of grief as it applies to those of us with chronic illness.

The five stages of grief may seem insurmountable at the time, but I’ve found that what comes next is the hardest part because once you get to acceptance, then what? What’s next? Next, you have to learn to live with it and grow through it.

This can seem impossible because you have your ideas of what life should have looked like, should have been, work you should be doing except for limitations imposed by your chronic issues. But how you allow God to mold you and change you into the life He has established for you will make all the difference.

Instead of looking at your past hopes and dreams and continuing to grieve for what will never be, I’ve found that it is far more positive and uplifting to allow God to guide me to the work he has for me in my present state. God always knew how my life would turn out. It wasn’t a surprise to Him, just to me. I figured, God created me and He has a plan for my life, so if He knew this, He must have work for me that I cannot see at this time.

The first step is to ask God for guidance and pray to hear His direction. I had been writing since I was nine years old. I had dreams of becoming a songwriter. Well, actually at that age, I had dreams of becoming a famous singer. As I grew up, my life changed and so my dreams changed. For me, they changed from writing songs to writing speech communication books to writing about chronic illness. The writing remained the same, but what I did with the talent the Lord blessed me with changed.

For you, it might be a more distinct change from something like working outside the home to selling your artwork. But it isn’t just our work life that changes when we have chronic illness. It’s every area of our lives. So…

The next step is to establish what would help you in all the areas of your life: health, family, career, and ministry. I went over this extensively in my series on Chronic Illness New Year’s Resolutions. You can click on each of those and look through those areas of your life for ideas.

After you know what you can change, adapt, and adopt in these areas of your life the final step is what I’ll be talking about next week so stay tuned!

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Chronic Illness New Year’s Resolutions – Part 4

Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.” – 2 Chronicles 15:7

So far we’ve talked about how to make baby steps toward some health, business, and family goals or resolutions. This week, I’d like to share about your ministry. Just because we’re physically weak, doesn’t mean there isn’t work that God has for us to do. It just may take a different form than we may think.

You are not useless because you are chronically ill. There are still joys in your life and there is still a purpose to it. God has designed you for something greater than just to suffer and struggle with chronic issues. I know from experience.

The best knowledge is experience and the worst experience at the very least teaches us lessons that help us understand and help others. The worst of my chronic problems have taught me how others feel and qualifies me not only fo understand them, but to help them. Whether I do that by standing up in front of a large congregation and speak to thousands or I witness to just one on one.

What’s the deepest need you had when in the throws of the most difficult of times? It’s to be understood. What was it you desired from others at that time? It wasn’t advice. It was a hug or someone just to say I understand. And that’s exactly what you can do and be for others!

How you do that may differ from how I do that. I have a Facebook group. I also have this blog. This is my ministry. You may have a different calling.

You may be called to just go online and uplift others. You may be called to post uplifting quotes and pictures on social media. You may be called to find humor in your difficulties that will bring a much-needed giggle to a weary heart in need. You might have a talent to knit infant clothes to give to newborns whose family can’t afford much. You might have a call on your heart to organize the collection of things to give to the homeless.

Your spiritual ministry could be online, via text, a weekly phone or online prayer group, to reach out to others who are hurting on phone or online or to write books. Or you could volunteer to help monitor an online group you’re in. There are any number of things you may have a gifting or calling for that you could do from your home where you don’t need to expend energy you don’t have to go anywhere you can’t get to.

What gifts or talents do you have? What could you do that might minister to others? How might you plan or make a resolution to help others with that gift or talent? I pray this series has helped you to resolve to make 2020 a great year in the Lord! God bless!!

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit[a] your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” – Psalm 37:4-5

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The Marriage Secret

Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

My husband and I are married 33yrs today. We were together five years before that so we’ve been together for 38 years! We’ve been through good times and bad times. At times, the bad times have almost overshadowed the good times especially when we were going through several chronic illnesses, family issues, and financial stresses all at the same time.

People often ask me what’s the secret to being married for so long, especially as so many call it quits before the first decade. I’ll tell you. It’s not all of the things most Hollywood movies say it is. It’s commitment.

Marriage isn’t just love. Love will not see you through. Many couples divorce still feeling love for one another; it’s just that they never learned to live through the tough stuff. Without commitment, love may not even survive.

Here’s what marriage really is:
It’s facing financial ruin together. It’s hours praying over a virus that may take your child’s life. It’s holding each other through the loss of a pregnancy. It’s building a life together again after a devastating job loss. It’s moving across the country together not knowing a soul and leaving all your family behind so that you only have each other to rely on.

It’s going without so your husband can get what he needs to get to work. It’s working with a bum knee and the flu because you can’t take off from a temp job without sacrificing your son’s college tuition. It’s crying together after watching your MIL dying on a video chat because you can’t get there. It’s coffee on Sunday mornings before church reminiscing about all the little things your kids did and how they’ve grown up so fast.

It’s not the romantic dinners or fancy vacations you look back on that make you smile. It’s the thought that the other did the little things that cost them dearly just because they wanted to make your life a little easier!

Marriages that last are made up of two imperfect people committed to getting through those tough times…relying upon God to help them through the tough times. Because there WILL be tough times!

Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

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Don’t Give Up On Your Chronic Illness Friend

If you’re just tuning in to my blog, you missed a few great couple of month’s of blog posts. I invite you to scroll through. This one is probably one of the most important.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galations 6:2

I’ve talked so far in this month’s series about being proactive and actively searching for your joy INside your tunnel (There’s light at the end of the tunnel is a saying those with a chronic issue have a hard time relating to.) I also talked about how we need to find our joy so we can keep searching or keep working at our God-given purpose that fulfills us. Last week, I talked about how a lack of joy and purpose leads us to give up on God, though the Lord loves us dearly and has a joyous life for us despite what we cannot do.

While the last three weeks were for YOU, this week is a special Don’t Give Up that is for those closest to you in your life. It’s important that WE keep looking for joy, purpose, and God’s love and support. It’s also important for those around you not to give up on YOU!

I’d love for you to share this particular post with those around you on your Facebook wall, in any of your Facebook pages or groups, and on any other social media as well as email to anybody you feel would benefit by posting it to THEIR friends and family.

Here’s my message to those around you: PLEASE don’t give up on your friends who struggle with chronic illness or any other chronic issue in their lives!

  1. Don’t give up on inviting them to parties or events.
  2. Don’t give up on asking them how they are really doing.
  3. Don’t give up on asking what you can do to help.
  4. Don’t give up on doing the little things to lift their spirits
  5. Don’t give up on being able to learn important life lessons from them!
  6. Don’t give up on them being able to make a difference in this world.
  7. Don’t give up on them in a moment of grief or weakness.
  8. Don’t give up on them overcoming and being a blessing.
  9. Don’t give up on them finding solutions.
  10. Don’t give up on them!

Those of us who live with chronic illness/issues have good days and bad days, but what we don’t have are days when we don’t need our brothers and sisters. What we don’t have is a resolution to being alone. What we don’t want is for us to be forgotten.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galations 6:2

We still have a life to live. We still have a need to be useful, to be included, and to have fun. So, please, don’t give up on us! Don’t count us out! We have a lot to give. We just need to do it on our own schedule.

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Don’t Give Up: On God

If you’re a regular Life Beyond Surviving reader, you know that my mission is to support those with chronic illness/issues because the chronic part of chronic illness is what builds our stress, our fatigue, and eventually (unfortunately) our faith. I believe Satan starts by hiding our joy and our purpose. Once that is out of our view, we begin to question why we are here on this earth at all.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:26

If you don’t see much joy in your life and you don’t feel you contribute in any way to your family or your finances or eternity, you begin to question not only why you’re here, but why God would allow you to go through life held under the thumbs of chronic issues that have left you with so little. I know because I’ve been there myself.

But I’m here this week to ask you not to give up on the Lord. He hasn’t given up on you! If you’ve read the Bible, you know there are many stories of how God used people who were in the middle of trials for incredible purposes. Think of how Paul was never healed and was in prison when he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. While he was in captivity and suffering with a “thorn” in his side, he wrote to encourage the early churches. God used his trials for a great kingdom purpose and He wants to use you too!

Even if you look at things from a secular perspective, you will see how great things were never accomplished easily. I know Hollywood loves to show a good “rags to riches” story, almost all biographies of successful people have a lot of heartache and struggle in them. I don’t know of anyone who has accomplished great things who didn’t struggle. The more success, the more the struggle. And what’s more amazing with God is that He uses us despite our struggles and sometimes BECAUSE of them!

I’d never be able to help support and uplift those who struggle with chronic illness to the degree I can if I had never had to live through it myself. What do you live with? What do you understand because of your struggles that you can use for the benefit of others?

Once you understand that God can use you, you can begin to see how life isn’t all that useless…all that dark. You can begin to see a purpose and find some joy in what you can do for others or your family and the kingdom of God. It’s at this point that you can begin to feel less of your struggle while allowing you to focus more on the good you can do and feel.

God loves you. He hasn’t abandoned you. He has a purpose for you and a joyous life for you to lead despite all of the struggles and trials life brings you. If you don’t feel that way now, ask Him to show you. Pray for God to show you your joy, your purpose. Once that’s done, you will find yourself growing closer to the Father and that can only lead to more joy and put your troubles further from your focus.

There is a better life to be had. We may not be able to find them on our own, but God is always with us. He loves us and He wants the best for us. Often it takes a relationship with Him in order to see that. I pray you find that in your life. How can I help you?

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:26

Next week, I’ll be sharing part four of this Don’t Give Up series, but this next one isn’t for you as much as it is for those around you! Check back next week for it. You’ll be glad you did!

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Don’t Give Up: Your Purpose

So many of us who struggle with chronic things will, at times, feel like giving up for one reason or another. It’s not as difficult to experience trials for a short time, but after several months turns into several years, we often go through times of frustration, overwhelm, and sadness. And not just once, but it may recur several times throughout our chronic lives. This is what prompted me to write this series.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Last week, I shared why and how you shouldn’t give up looking for joy, humor, and beauty in your life that may live side by side with your chronic illness, financial struggles, or other long-lived difficulties. I started with that because that’s where sadness and depression begin. If you lose your joy, in time, you may find you lose your purpose, but as you can see from the above scripture, God gives a hope and a future to each of his children–even those with chronic issues.

I’d like to talk this week about that next step and ask you please don’t give up searching for your purpose. Many people feel a loss of purpose when they retire from a lifetime spent at a job or career. I know it happens less often now as most people find they can’t live on whatever (if any) retirement money they’ve accumulated. However, those of us with chronic illness have found it necessary to retire from jobs or careers and even ministries we once immersed ourselves in.

If you’re like me, you find yourself almost isolated from friends and family and from contact with the outside world. I quit working outside the home due to fatigue and when raising my kids. I have had to stop my online stores, selling on Amazon, and even my freelance writing. I have a tough time driving with my tremors now in my legs as well as my hands so I don’t go anywhere unless it’s to a doctor appointment or if my husband drives me to the store or to church. This was beginning to take its toll as I felt useless not only to my husband (I have some trouble getting enough energy to do housework at times as well) but to anyone else.

But just because you can’t go out, doesn’t mean you can’t find your purpose and work toward something you are passionate about. God has a plan for your life and He is smart enough and powerful enough to take into account any trials He already knows you are experiencing. That being said, each of us has a unique set of talents and experiences God can use to help others in various ways. The trick is to pray for Him to reveal them to you and give it time enough for Him to reveal it to you.

Some ideas for you:
1. Are you online? Social media has its problems, but it is SOCIAL after all. Get involved on a social media group. Start a Facebook group. Find a way to work from home that works for you. I was having a tough time focusing on the topics my writing clients needed as the research was too hard for me to focus on and the deadlines were difficult to meet if I was having a series of fatigue-plagued days. So, I decided to go back to writing what I’m passionate about and offering them for sale on my websites. More about that in later months.

2. Is there a ministry you have a heart for that you could help with from home? Nothing feels as good as being part of a wonderful ministry or charity!

3. Is there someone in your life who needs uplifting? You can start a daily text to uplift them. I did that once for a friend of mine going through some relocation woes with her small children. I texted her an uplifting scripture or a funny cartoon or saying. Know what I found? It uplifted me too!

4. Are you artistic in some way? I know a woman who paints and sells them online. I know another who creates incredibly gorgeous graphics with uplifting sayings. I know another who writes books and gets them traditionally published. What’s your thing?

There are a myriad of things out there if you give yourself enough time, focus and prayer to become clear to you. Drop me a note and tell me what you do or what you’d like to, or what the Lord has shown you after reading this. I’d love to hear!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Next week, I’m going to be sharing about how Satan uses our loss of joy and purpose to lead us to give up on the Lord.

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Don’t Give Up Series Begins

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

I thought I’d start the holiday season with a series of blog articles about not giving up. So many have a profound sadness or depression around this time of year because it reminds us of who is no longer with us. It chronicles what we can no longer do or what we no longer have since last holiday season.

Most of those struggling with chronic illness or other chronic issues will come to a time of desperation at some point or another. We all get to a level of discomfort, overwhelm, sadness, or frustration (or all of the above) when we feel we can no longer go on or we no longer want to. In fact, it may happen several times over the course of your life. It certainly has with me!

There are times when I feel like giving up. I’ve never really been suicidal, but I have had thoughts along the lines of, “God, if I meet with an unfortunate accident, I wouldn’t be at all upset! In fact, if you’d hurry that along, I’d be grateful!” But so many with chronic illness or issues feel a deep depression or thoughts of wanting their suffering to end in any way possible. If that’s you right now, I’d like to speak to your spirit this month.

The first thing I’d like to share with you is not to give up looking for your joy. Joy is something that leaves you first when you are overwhelmed, frustrated, and saddened by the long, difficult road of chronic issues. I’ve talked about this many times, but the phrase, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel” really bothers me and angers some with a chronic journey because our tunnel doesn’t end this side of heaven. So, if your tunnel doesn’t end, how can you see the light at the end of it?

Why you should not give up looking for joy:
1. The obvious answer is that without joy life doesn’t seem worth living. Without joy, there is only misery inside of that chronic illness tunnel.

2. Believe it or not, there IS joy inside your tunnel! No matter how dismal, draining, or painful your tunnel is. The beauty that was there around you is still there whether or not you’re looking for it. The grass is just as green and peaceful looking. The flowers are just as vibrant. Your children are just as precious. Your spouse’s smile is just as soothing.

3. The more you search for the joy, the more of it you will find. The more you find, the more it will minister to your soul.

4. The more you find your joy, the more you can share it with others even though you are going through tough times. This ties right in with my article for next week on purpose so I’ll have more on that next week.

How not to give up looking for joy:
1. If you’re going to find the joy, you’ve got to actively search for it. Satan has a habit of hiding the joys surrounding those who are in trials or struggling with things. Depression moves us away from our joy and isolates us from others. Those of us who have chronic illness are isolated enough already.

2. Actively searching for something is very different from casually noticing things so you will need to be conscious of every opportunity to find the humor, the beauty, and the kindnesses as life brings you to them. You must keep asking yourself, “What joy can I see right now?”

3. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. After a few weeks of actively, consciously searching for the joy, you will find yourself able to see it without being active about it.

4. So, challenge yourself to take 21 days to find the joys, the humor, the beauty in each place you find yourself. Here are some ideas for you: Write down what you are thankful for each day. Keep a journal of the beauty around your house, your family, your job, your church, and your situation. What’s funny about the ridiculous situations you find yourself in? What has made you smile each day?

5. And then after 21 days or a month or so, take out your notes and reread them. Take special note of just how many you were able to find.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

Next week, I’ll be sharing about the next thing to leave those with chronic issues: a sense of purpose. Stay with me on this journey. Check back next week and please share this with friends and family.

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